Have you ever entered into an unfamiliar group of people, and felt that all of their eyes where upon you. We are uncomfortably aware of ourself as an object of the observation of others. We speak of this kind of feeling as "self-consciousness." We say, 'I was so self-conscious, that I spilled the drink all over my clothing,' In such a situation, you are aware of your every movement, every word, and measure and judge each and every expression. You try to behave in a manner and style which imitates the behaviors of the current culture of the immediate group, even though your imitative behavior may be in direct opposition to your true character. If you are not practiced at this kind of masquerade, you would probably stumble, stammer, and generally act foolish, because would have substituted false sets of behaviors for those that are characteristic of you. Simply, you would be "acting-out" behaviors based on ideas about which were determined by others. In his poem, from an "Essay On Man," Alexander Pope, illuminates the cultural authority created by man, and suggests a view point upon which to discover man's true self worth.
"Honor and shame from no condition rise
Act well your part, there all honor lies.
Fortune in men has some small difference made,
One flaunts in rags, one flutters in brocade,
The friar hooded, and the monarch crowned.
"What differ more (you cry) than crown or cowl!"
I'll tell you friend! a wise man and a fool,
You'll find, if the monarch act the monk,
Or, cobber-like, the parson will be drunk.
Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow:
The rest is all but leather or prunella."
The worth which Pope suggest that makes all the difference is self worth: an unbending motivation that only allows your unique human characteristics to be clearly and sincerely expressed. This kind of expression integrates you with your contacted environment. It creats a quality of expression that harmoniously resonates with all that is experienced. It forms an integration and a truth, and when this kind of expression focuses on noble ideas, it results in complete joy.
Such a high degree of character and integrity is not an easy achievement Usually, trouble occurs, when "cobber-like the parson will be drunk." For instance, the young adult who is characteristically interested in helping others, but through some self induced delusion discounts his "soul character" as a weakness or flaw, and focuses his life on the accumulation of wealth and power over others. Trouble can also occur under the influence of assumptions made by others. For instance, the child who shows "soul=character" in drawing, and is influenced to focus his life on something more solid and materially beneficial, like accounting. In both of these cases, the misdirected journey of these souls is in direct opposition to their soul character. This is like the old story about the two ends of a worm fighting over which is the true head. The two ends of the worm struggle so hard that they pull themselves apart. Such is the way with human beings, when their lower part is allowed to vie for control over their higher apart, they begin to fight and consequently pull themselves apart.
Keep this in mind, find your authentic interests, those that truly involve your whole being, and that can evolve you to ever higher levels of development; keep a vigilant eye, lest you be carried away, and at all costs, keep yourself whole.